This is a follow-up to the article Training for 400m: Balancing Speed and Special Endurance
You’ve done your GPP (General Prep) last fall, and are currently doing SPP (Specific Prep) training or possibly be in your Competitive phase. For a good detailed review of the terminology of different workout types, see CLASSIFYING SPRINT TRAINING METHODS from UKA.
You are healthy. You are strong as a horse.
It’s already May, and if you are planning to run a Championship meet in July and August, you better start getting ready mentally and “physically” if you haven’t done so already.
The key question now is, “Where are you in terms of progression?”
The stopwatch is your best friend now, and you’ll either be doing:
The results will be used to extrapolation times to see where you are at. I talked about extrapolating times (either 60m to 100m extrapolation) and what you need to be able to run for a 200 meters to run the 400m time you desire. The 100m to 200m extrapolation can be found here.
The 4 Critical Items in your Inventory
The following is a checklist of 4 components you need to verify in your inventory:
- Speed: Acceleration Development
- Speed: Maximum Velocity
- Speed Endurance
- Special Endurance
You have to periodically monitor the seasonal progression of these 4 workout types and ADJUST your workout planning accordingly. This is the number one reason why “mail order workouts” don’t work 95% of the time. Unless you have constant feedback of workout splits and time trials, as well as video analysis, chances are a mail order workout won’t give the performances you desire. How can you measure recovery and CNS overload? Running economy?
Also, there’s nothing worse than bad mechanics that can be corrected. Especially when doing drills. Here’s a joke:
Q: What’s worse than doing drills with bad mechanics?
If you are doing a double or triple periodization, then you have a small block of SPP training after each competition phase (after a brief rest period, of course). So, what do you focus on?
The KEY question right now is assessing your current speed, and how far (not fast) you can maintain it.
For example, if you want to break 48 for 400m, you’ll be running splits of 23 and 25 (roughly) with a 200m SB of 22 sec and 100m SB of 11. Note I am using SB and not PB (season best and not personal best). At 11 seconds for the 100m, I would ESTIMATE a 7.14 FAT or 6.9 HT 60m time or even slightly faster. But if your athlete is running 7.1 or 7.2 HT in practice from a standing rolling start or out of the blocks, I would show some concern, but I wouldn’t panic. I would simply re-evaluate the training plan and get more speed sessions in. This of course is a case-by-case basis as you also need to assess his speed endurance and special endurance times, as well as knowing the physical attributes of your runner.
Why am I hammering on this? Because you cannot maintain a speed you haven’t attained.
There is one caveat, as one of the biggest determinant in this equation is whether you are training long-to-short or short-to-long. I’ll go over some detailed workout examples in Part 2 of this article.